We’re learning more about what prompted lockdowns at four Bedford County schools on Tuesday.
According to Captain Tim Hayden of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, a 16-year-old Jefferson Forest student was assaulted by a man on Tuesday morning while the teen was getting into a car. The victim says he was hit with an object and got into a "tugging match" with his attacker. At this time it doesn’t appear that the teenager and the suspect knew each other, Hayden said.
The assault did not happen on school property, but the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office advised the school system to put lockdowns in place at Jefferson Forest High School, Forest Middle School, Forest Elementary School, and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. The lockdowns were put in place around 9:45 a.m., and lifted around 12:02 p.m. Tuesday.
"We have to err on the side of caution, being that the suspect was on foot and we didn't know where he was," said Hayden.
Deputies say the assault happened in the Forest area, a few miles from Jefferson Forest High School. They are not providing an exact location, but a neighborhood called "Hooper Woods" off Hooper Road was searched this morning. Nothing was taken during the attack, Hayden said.
Investigators have released a vague description of the person they are looking for: a man in his early 30's, wearing a grey hoodie and dark pants. As of 4:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, he has not been located.
Lockdowns at four Bedford County schools were lifted around 12:15 p.m.
Four Bedford County schools have been placed on lockdown because of an investigation in the Forest area.
According to Bedford County Public Schools spokesperson Ryan Edwards, the school system got a call around 10 a.m. from the sheriff’s office advising them to put the schools on lockdown because of the investigation.
The effected schools are Jefferson Forest High School, Forest Middle School, Forest Elementary School, and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.
A level one lockdown is a situation where students can transfer between classes, but all entrances are locked and guarded.